#mencallmethings: “ugly,” “mental illness”


Comment from Andy, replying to a post about sexual harassment at atheist conferences:

“I suspect it’s only ugly women who complain of the environment they find themselves in. It is simply a marker of your typical feminists mental illness.”

#mencallmethings

I just want to point out something Jen McCreight said on Twitter (@jennifurret): “I like how I’ve been attacked for being pretty and for being ugly. You can’t win as a woman, can you?” Women who talk about sexual harassment are either ugly, and resentful of the fact that they’re not getting attention… or they’re pretty, and therefore are bimbos who are asking for it. Or, in some cases, both.

As for “mental illness”: Right. Because it is so totally out of touch with reality to think that men sometime use their power to take sexual advantage of women, and to think it’s an important problem, and to try to stop it. m-/

Oh, btw, I’ve said this before when the #thing that #menhavecalled me is “ugly,” and I’ll say it again here: Please, unless you’re a personal friend or someone I’m having sex with, don’t try to make me feel better by saying that I’m not ugly. If I write about fashion or post the hot pic of myself in the Skepticon calendar, you can say nice things about how I look… but please don’t do it here. I’m not calling this out to garner reassurance about my appearance. I’m calling this out to show people the kind of shit women routinely deal with. I have a thick skin, and I don’t get my feelings hurt by sexist jackasses calling me names. That isn’t the point.

The point isn’t that I’m not ugly. The point is that it shouldn’t matter.

Comments

  1. Melody says

    With all of the sister-punishers out there like Abbie Smith and Miranda Celeste Hale, we should also add a #womencallmethings.

  2. says

    The point is that being conventionally “ugly” also doesn’t prevent you from being harrased, groped, have your personal space invaded.
    Only that instead of the compliments you get the shaming*. Hey, you should be lucky that some guy pays you attention and who’s going to believe you anyway.

    *Yes, I’ve been on both sides of this see-saw.

  3. says

    Yeah, Andy just came to my blog to call me ugly too:

    “Aaahhh yes the ugly geek birds want an anti harassment policy, drawing attention to how hot they are, cos you know men are just running over themselves to get a piece of that ass.

    No you did not notice it, well they do! And it does not mean it did not happen…so there!

    How the strong independent women collapse into piles of quivering merde when faced with MAN.”

    lolol

  4. CommanderTuvok says

    With all of the sister-punishers out there like Abbie Smith and Miranda Celeste Hale, we should also add a #womencallmethings.

    You actually mean “gender traitor”, don’t you?

    #FTBposterscallmethings

    BTW, what has Miranda Celeste Hale done? Bully boy.

  5. says

    It’s amazing.
    Do you slime-pitters have a working shift-system or something like that? Every month or so you all turn up and each of you flocks to the one blog where you aren’t banned…
    And I suppose that melody didn’t use the term “gender-traitor” on purpose. Does it hurt much that she didn’t?

  6. Melody says

    You actually mean “gender traitor”, don’t you?

    Sister-punisher: A woman who turns on other women to gain favor of sexist men.

  7. CommanderTuvok says

    Melody,

    People all over FTB used “gender traitor” for that very same definition.

    I repeat, what has Miranda Celeste Hale done to be called a “sister-punisher”.

    Answer the question.

  8. Melody says

    I’m not going to go through all of those garbage threads over at ERV during “Elevatorgate” to find quotes. She is an ally of Abby Smith and MRAs.

  9. CommanderTuvok says

    Melody,

    You are dodging the questions. Claiming that you are not going to “waste your time visiting x website” is a cop out.

    What has Miranda Celeste Hale done wrong? Why is she an “ally” of Abbie Smith? Why is she a “sister-punisher” (aka “gender traitor”)?

    If you can’t answer these simple questions, then I will simply regard you as another one of the bullies who doesn’t like to get called out on their home patch.

  10. hoaxwatcher says

    I haven’t had the energy or stomach to catch up on all the issues around sexism in the secular community…but men are using playground taunts? Do you know any of these guys…how old are they? Please tell me they’re young, as in teenagers. So I can hope of a maturation process for them.

    On the other hand, if they’re not young, it’s just pathetic. To be so afraid of women is just sad. To believe that the only way to make yourself feel superior is by trying to make someone else inferior just speaks to really low self-esteem and a pretty tortured inner life.

  11. John Horstman says

    You know, the worst part about the trolling is that it makes it difficult to establish (and stick to) specific bounds for the scope of a discussion in order to work anything out. Part of me wonders whether it’s even worth attempting to build coalition under the banner of “atheism” specifically versus something like humanism (which implies feminism, anti-racism, anti-ethnocentrism, etc.), or operating within the scope of feminism or anti-racism and advocating atheism and skepticism within them. Anyway, charges of being “ugly” really don’t do much other than expose the priorities of the person making the charge; “ugly” isn’t “wrong”, after all.

    That post on Jen’s blog isn’t even moderately literate; I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to be insulting because of that first sentence – the use of “ugly” and “birds” – but I’m truly at a loss in attempting to understand the last two. Is it a larger post where the context provides some insight? I’m always truly curious how people manage to communicate in day-to-day life when they can’t write comprehensible sentences, since anyone who knows the spellings of the words should, at the very least, be able to write a sentence exactly as one speaks.

    Also, I’m not sure it’s worth feeding Tuvok’s derail attempts even to debunk them. Comment 10, for example, makes an unsupported (and likely false: the only instances of the phrase Google finds on FtB are either MRAssholes calling other men “gender traitor” and people discussing the use of the term as a bad idea) claim, then demands specific quotes as evidence in the very next line; bad-faith debate is simply trolling. I’m also never sure whether this sort of thing counts as feeding a troll; if I use calm language and don’t acknowledge the potential virtual presence of the troll by never directly addressing it (functionally marginalizing it), does that count as feeding?

  12. Graham Martin-Royle says

    The point isn’t that I’m not ugly. The point is that it shouldn’t matter.

    Just how many times do this have to be repeated? Looks are subjective, what is ugly to one person is beautiful to another. What matters is the argument being put. If you agree with it, fine. If you don’t agree with it, point out why, put your argument forward. Looks don’t come into it.

  13. John the Drunkard says

    I see two problems.
    1. the abuse of power and prestige by [some of] the Anointed Ones at skeptical/atheist events.
    2. the trolling of skeptical/atheist blogs by misogynist creeps.

    Answering problem 2 is up to the bloggers, I have no problem with 86ing creeps. It is your blog and you don’t really have to justify dumping anyone.

    Trouble is, that anyone exposed to problem 1 may keep silent because of problem 2.

    The trolls will keep on trolling whatever anyone does, just whack ‘em as they raise their heads. Problem 1 still seems to demand some degree of sunlight Mrs Havisham. I am sure that if a sufficient group, mabe just 2 or 3 survivors of Mr X’s groping-pinning-leering etc., spoke up in solidarity, the atmosphere would change. If you could see it through the cloud of woman-hating spam that would happen anyway.

  14. Greta Christina says

    CommanderTuvok is a known troll from other blogs, and has been banned.

  15. says

    I will also note, as someone with a mental illness who knows and loves other people with mental illnesses, that it should not be a pejorative to say that someone has one. It’s not just that feminists aren’t mentally ill by necessity; implying that the mentally ill are somehow less-than is problematic in and of itself.

  16. says

    People all over FTB used “gender traitor” for that very same definition.

    I just did some research. You see, it was really difficult, but that’s why I’m getting my PhD. I had to scroll to the top of the FtB main page, type in “gender traitor” to the search box, and then count the number of posts that came up. Two! Two whole posts!

    But wait. I clicked the posts, and do you know the context “gender traitor” was brought up in? Quoting people from the slimepit! Shocking how not a single blogger has ever actually described someone using the term gender traitor. I must have missed something.

  17. says

    How the strong independent women collapse into piles of quivering merde when faced with MAN.”

    Y’know, I read The Wimp Factor recently. I have my criticisms, but when I see comments like this I wish I could magically send them all copies.

    ***

    The first person to use “gender traitor” in that affair was skeptifem, over at the original slimepit. When I used it to refer to both Smith and Hale at the old B&W, all hell broke loose. There was some discussion of it at the old Pharyngula, in the course of which I came to reject the term because of some connotations I hadn’t previously considered, but came away thinking that even though the term didn’t work the idea was sound, and of course that it applied in these two cases (and they haven’t changed my impression since, to put it mildly).

    “Sister-punisher” is great, and I will use it from now on.

    ***

    As for “mental illness”

    I am so not going there. :)

  18. SantasLittleHelper says

    Miranda an hour ago:

    “a lot hateful bullies” are out there, and “their nastiness can hurt”.

    I hope you are proud of yourselves, Greta, Melody and now SC.

    You spiteful little bullies.

  19. Melody says

    Smith and Hale hurt a lot of people with their sexist comments and name calling. Playing the victim now is absurd.

  20. says

    Now now, maybe Miranda is referring to Abbie’s obvious bullying of me and Stephanie! You know, when she called me fat. Obviously that’s what she must mean, right?

  21. says

    And by fat I meant ugly. Don’t know why my brain typed that. Guess I can’t keep the insults people fling at me straight.

  22. Rupert McClanahan says

    I am convinced that Melody is a Poe. It would be impossible to create a parody of a knee-jerk, know-nothing, follow-the-crowd, thoughtless psychopath as she is.

  23. says

    Sigh. Gneder traitor has probably NOT been used on FTB, and if people can’t supply links showing it, they should stop claiming it. There’s enough reams of silliness by people misstating Abbie’s original beef last year to fill three epic threads, no need to imagine more stuff.

    However, the meme that only people on ERV use it or it’s been used by men against men is simply incorrect, provably so:

    1) From http://www.butterfliesandwheels.org/2011/getting-and-not-getting/, comment #10 by Salty Current:

    SC (Salty Current)
    July 5, 2011 at 5:44 pm
    Unless I’m wildly misinterpreting things (which I doubt, but is possible), Miranda Celeste Hale is, like her pal Abbie Smith, a moron and a gender traitor, as skeptifem so graphically put it.

    There’s also some insinuation that SC apologized for that term later on. Read the comment stream, that didn’t happen. In fact, SC doubled down on it.

    2) From Skeptifem, http://skeptifem.blogspot.com/2011/07/inside-mind-of-gender-traitor.html

    These women show up to defend sexist men when other women have a problem with it. This piece from ERV is a nice illustration.

    3) From Skeptifem again, this time on Pharyngula: (you might want to look past the first handful of links on a Google search jen, you fine some interesting results on page 2 sometime) http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/09/09/prodding-the-feral-otaku/ Comment #249

    Is the “gender traitor” thing a reference to my post on the subject? That was aimed at ERV and other patriarchy supporting women. I won’t shut up about that kind of behavior because silence, in every practical way, means support.

    It *is* incorrect to say that any of the *bloggers* on FTB have called Abbie (or miranda) a gender traitor. It is however, NOT incorrect to say that the term hasn’t been used in reference to Abbie, both on FTB and other places, (ironically on the other B&W site.)

    But then, at this point, truth and facts are poor stamped things. (NatGeo’s censoring, no they aren’t, they censored you, no they didn’t, look, posts are still there.) DEITY$ knows i’ve been told point blank what I think by people who aren’t me so many times I gave up counting. Accusations of criminal activity have been flung about as well. On and on.

    And as near as I can tell, the only ‘consistent’ complaint people have about Abbie is that she uses “bad” language and plays by her own rules. Oh, and that she won’t censor her blog in accordance with the wishes of other people who aren’t her.

    Wow. What an evil, evil person. What a perverse paragon of perfidy.

  24. evilDoug says

    Sort of in keeping with the crap she keeps getting, I wanted to open with teasing Greta about getting old. She’s only about three quarters of a decade younger than me, after all. But I couldn’t think of a good way to do it. So …

    Lubchenko learn nothing. Nothing!

    I read the passionate writing of the young whippersnappers of FTB – Jen, Ian, JT, Stephanie, Jason – and think [long string of invective with reference to sexual activity, excretory functions, religious figures – of which my dear old mother woulda disapproved], “it seems like it’s new to them, but I’ve heard this stuff before”. I see the crap thrown at Jen and Greta and others, and think “I’ve seen this crap before”. We are Lubchenko. The things that keep coming up came up decades ago. It seems that we have learned nothing. Nothing! Greta must remember some of this – it is the price of being “old”. It is depressing.

    I’m hoping maybe it will eventually play out like the arrival of the desktop computer. When that happened, I viewed it as, in many ways, setting computer science back a decade or more. But it turned around, and the single-user computer has advanced the art dramatically. Maybe the internet has given the dregs of humanity a voice that, in time, will drop below the noise floor. Maybe we will be able to return to positive progress in treating each other decently.

    It isn’t all that difficult. Don’t take that which is not yours to take.
    Don’t tailgate and take someone’s safety margin. Don’t use your cell phone in a theatre and take someone else’s enjoyment of the movie away. Don’t treat other people in ways that take away their dignity or feeling of safety and security. Don’t be goddamn jerks like we were decades ago.

    It’s depressing to be old. It’s depressing to see the same shit floating up over and over because we learn nothing. It is encouraging to see people still trying to flush the shit to its doom.

  25. mnb0 says

    I am glad you banned that guy, because I begin to feel like killing someone like him. Instead I’ll have to do with repeating myself:

    As a male I don’t read Blag Hag, Butterflies and Wheels, GC and No Country for Women because of the appearances of the authors – neither do I read PZM, Mano Singham and The Uncredible Hallq for this reason. I don’t care. I only care about the appearances of my female counterpart – and she about mine.
    Just imagine. I preside the meetings of my sections – all my colleagues (teachers maths and physics) are women. “No, we are not going to do that because, you know, you haven’t coloured your hair lately and I see three colours.” I cannot even begin to think of all the horrid consequences.

    Andy is dumb, stupid, idiot, whatever. With again my apologies to the mentally challenged.

    I read GC for stuff like Why atheism demands social justice. So I grab the opportunity to remark that GC doesn’t write enough new stuff like that lately.
    Thát’s serious criticism.

  26. Melody says

    It would be impossible to create a parody of a knee-jerk, know-nothing, follow-the-crowd, thoughtless psychopath as she is.

    #mencallmethings Psychopath

  27. Aratina Cage says

    Wow. What an evil, evil person. –John C. Welch

    Yes. At this point I think that is spot on. There is absolutely no reason for her to say the nasty things she has said about Jen, Ophelia, Greta, PZ, and others. None. And never mind the slimepit she has built around her. She has said things herself that are pretty damn near unforgiveable. And we thought Wally Smith was bad? Fuuuuuuu—!

  28. SantasLittleHelper says

    O look. Melody the bully is being hypocritical again. She STILL has not explained her attack on Miranda, and why she think it is ok for her to call people names, while attacking other people for doing the same.

    Typical bully. Greta is condoning bullying, here, by failing to call it out. Just like Greta didn’t call out somebody libelling, or “derailing” as she called it, on another thread the other day.

    #FTBposterscallwomengendertraitors

  29. Trevor Goodchild says

    Melody #1:

    It’s interesting that you should mention that. A few of your fellow FTB posters have decided that they’re also entitled to play amateur psychiatrist when attacking ERV and her readers. I was just reminding them not to do that here.

    I think some of those posters are women, so I’m not sure which pithy hashtag I’m supposed to use for this comment.

  30. Greta Christina says

    Rupert McClanahan @ #28 and SantasLittleHelper generally: Your comments are in violation of my comment policy. Personal insults towards other commenters are prohibited, as is being unpleasant, nasty, snide, sarcastic. This is your one and only warning. Further violations will result in you being banned from this blog.

  31. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    With all of the sister-punishers out there like Abbie Smith and Miranda Celeste Hale, we should also add a #womencallmethings.

    …which will then fill up with whining about how unfair Schroedinger’s Rapist and the concept of privilege are. :(

  32. says

    Melody #1:

    It’s interesting that you should mention that. A few of your fellow FTB posters have decided that they’re also entitled to play amateur psychiatrist when attacking ERV and her readers. I was just reminding them not to do that here.

    Yes, you are truly noble.

    Read the rest of the thread.

  33. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    John C. Welch gets to post here? Sorry, that’s too filthy even for me. Honestly. I’ll come back when the trash is cleaned up, because that’s shameful.

  34. Emma Edwards says

    I had this the other day while walking down the street and a man shouted out of his car ‘Smile! Then you might be pretty!’

    At this I thought, hang on, I don’t ‘owe’ him pretty, I don’t owe anybody pretty, none of us do. I think there is an underlying idea that men have, fattened up by the media and awful films and adverts that women are really just around for decoration and if a woman is somehow not fulfilling this role, she needs to be told. She automatically gets less respect. Well guess what, we don’t owe anyone pretty, we do owe a kick in the crotch to these ridiculous patriarchal ideas though!

  35. says

    John C. Welsh
    So, Tuvok gets banned, up you show…

    Sigh. Gneder traitor has probably NOT been used on FTB, and if people can’t supply links showing it, they should stop claiming it.

    That’s due to your pals’ absolute inability to keep basic timelines in mind. They so much hate FtB and what it has become that they’ll attribute everything they hate since the dawn of time to FtB. No matter if it existed back then or not.

    However, the meme that only people on ERV use it or it’s been used by men against men is simply incorrect, provably so:

    On FtB. People wrote that. You know, when the accusation is that people on FtB use the term gender traitor and a quick search indicates that they don’t, unless they’re discussing the term, then the assesion that people on FtB themselves don’t use the term but that people from ERV come over frequently to claim that they do is correct.

    It *is* incorrect to say that any of the *bloggers* on FTB have called Abbie (or miranda) a gender traitor. It is however, NOT incorrect to say that the term hasn’t been used in reference to Abbie, both on FTB and other places, (ironically on the other B&W site.)

    So, you have three incidences
    Let’s deal with the easiest one, SC over at B&W. You have SC’s own account right above your post where she explains that yes she did use that therm, that she’s been taken to task for it (by other regulars at B&W) and that she acknowldges that this term is inappropriate and that she won’t use it again.
    And then there’s skeptifem who uses it on her own blog which is in no way associated with FtB. And there’s skeptifem using the term on pharyngula. But wait, you conveniently left out the comment to which she replied:

    For another example, need I remind you of the public treatment of alleged “gender-traitor” Stef McGraw, because she dared to challenge the opinion of a sister about a privileged white male leader of the skeptic community?

    So, who, in that situation, brought up the term?
    Was it skeptifem saying “Abbie Smith is a gender-traitor” out of the blue, or did somebody else bring it up as a charge to which she defended herself?
    Which is not to say that she was right to use that term in her blog post, and if you had any integrity you’d acknowledge that although skeptifem is a respected commenter at FtB she isn’t unroblematic in many of her stances and that other commenters at FtB, especially the Pharyngula Horde regularly argue with her about those issues.

    And as near as I can tell, the only ‘consistent’ complaint people have about Abbie is that she uses “bad” language and plays by her own rules.

    So you still don’t understand the difference between “bad language” and slurs? Well, I’m not going to explain it to you again. I’m only wondering why, if bad language is such an admirable thing, you’re getting upset with people allegedly using the term gender-traitor.

    mnb0
    Oh dear, expect your “feel like killing someone” remark to be dragged out endlessly as evidence of the vile, brutal and violent hypocrisy of FtB.

  36. says

    As a male I don’t read Blag Hag, Butterflies and Wheels, GC and No Country for Women because of the appearances of the authors

    jesus fuck. english is such a hideously ambiguous language when not practiced carefully. I was so about to rip you a new one before I realized you meant “It isn’t because of the appearances of the authors that I read Blag Hag, Butterflies and Wheels, GC and No Country for Women”

  37. rilian says

    Um, yeah, when I read the quote at first, I was thinking that that person is attributing ugliness as a voluntary action that one takes. And that they say it’s a mental illness means they think that if you are ugly you really do deserve poor treatment and you’re insane to think otherwise.
    I feel a mix of sadness and puke at this.

  38. says

    I think some of those posters are women, so I’m not sure which pithy hashtag I’m supposed to use for this comment

    how about #peoplewhocheckedtheirprivilege ? because you kinda forgot to point out that no one defended that use, and that after you pointed that out, people agreed with you. don’t be so dishonest.

  39. says

    You have SC’s own account right above your post where she explains that yes she did use that therm, that she’s been taken to task for it (by other regulars at B&W) and that she acknowldges that this term is inappropriate and that she won’t use it again.

    No, my questioning whether I want to use the particular term had nothing to do with anything at B&W, whether anyone tried to “take me to task” there or not. It came as a response to something Jadehawk pointed out about the term’s unfortunate connotations at Pharyngula. And just to note again: the issue was merely with the specific term and not with the concept elaborated by skeptifem and captured well by “sister-punisher.”

  40. Greta Christina says

    John C. Welch gets to post here? Sorry, that’s too filthy even for me. Honestly. I’ll come back when the trash is cleaned up, because that’s shameful.

    Josh, Official SpokesGay @ #40: I’m not up to date on what commenters have been doing in other blogs. If John C. Welch has been an abusive troll in other blogs, please let me know, with links if possible, and I’ll ban him. Trying to troll my blog after abusive behavior in other blogs violates my comment policy. But you shouldn’t assume that I know who is and is not abusive in other blogs. I rely on other commenters and other bloggers to keep me apprised of that. Thanks.

  41. SantasLittleHelper says

    Rupert McClanahan @ #28 and SantasLittleHelper generally: Your comments are in violation of my comment policy. Personal insults towards other commenters are prohibited, as is being unpleasant, nasty, snide, sarcastic.

    You forgot to mention SC and Melody – they used personal insults as well.

    Stay consistent, Greta.

    Also, libel is in violation of your comment policy. Yet that person was not banned AFAIA.

  42. says

    Ugh. This Andy guy is what, twelve? Heck, he doesn’t even meet my expectations for twelve year-olds. It’s been an annoying trend in my life that the older I get, the more infantile society appears.

    Even if you ignore the blatant sexism, it’s still stupid. Physical appearance is irrelevant to sexual harassment. You don’t have to be a target of sexual harassment to point out that it’s wrong.

  43. says

    evilDoug, my gray hairs are laughing at being grouped with the “young whippersnappers”. Refusal to grow up “properly” apparently works. :)

  44. Greta Christina says

    John C. Welch has been an abusive troll in other blogs. He has now been banned from this blog.

  45. Sergio says

    I suspect it is the small group of athiest and skeptics that join our ranks not out of a full intellectual analysis of the flaws of faith and belife but of a more egotistical point of view. edwina Rodgers is a good example in the female and some of the feminsim as a mental illness commentators are the male side of that group it’s not enough to not worship a diety if one worships ones own ego and believes themselves correct in the ego driven belifes is simply worshiping another god namely themselves .
    Iv run into these types and find them lacking in intellect but overflowing with bluster and the woman in the atheist movement are right to point them out to the rest of us they share little in common with the intellectual athiest movement I see on this site and are a detriment to us all as a movement.

  46. says

    SC
    Sorry, my wording was poor on this.
    Let me rephrase it.
    What I meant was that after you used it on B&W people there disagreed with you, it was not left unchallenged.
    It was not the alleged “people use it and nobody cares”.
    Since then, due to more discussion, you have changed your position on the usage of the specific term.
    Is that correct?

  47. says

    Sorry, my wording was poor on this.
    Let me rephrase it.
    What I meant was that after you used it on B&W people there disagreed with you, it was not left unchallenged.
    It was not the alleged “people use it and nobody cares”.
    Since then, due to more discussion, you have changed your position on the usage of the specific term.
    Is that correct?

    Hm. Yes, but incomplete. It was challenged at B&W, but I didn’t find any of those challenges to be convincing (some were reasonable but I think wrong; others were hyperbolic and silly and rooted in questionable motives).

    As far as I can recall, the only reason I changed my view about using the term was that Jadehawk noted (at Pharyngula) its superficial similarity with “race traitor,” used by some white supremacists. Regardless of the obvious differences in social context and therefore meanings, that’s not an association I want.

    I think it was that alone, but that was enough for me to drop the term. But I have no problem with it otherwise, and none with “sister-punisher” or similar expressions. Indeed, Greta Christina requested at the time that people not use terms of that sort generally, and I publicly disagreed with her (I have no idea whether she saw that, or is aware of my existence).

    But yes, the “people use it and nobody cares'” claim is untrue. And it’s good generally that people discuss and debate these things (if we hadn’t, the connotation Jadehawk mentioned probably wouldn’t have occurred to me). But there’s a vibe in the responses to the pitizens (still love that) of “SC used it and was taken to task and realized it had been wrong” that bothers me. The only thing wrong with that specific term, in my view, is the unfortunate association, and I’m content with other terms that say the same basic thing.

  48. says

    SC
    OK, I think we need to agree to disagree about the term, since I think there’s more wrong with it than the association.
    I think that sister-punisher is an adequate term, since it describes the action while leaving room for different reasons why they do so, while traitor implies malicious intent in and on itself.

  49. says

    OK, I think we need to agree to disagree about the term, since I think there’s more wrong with it than the association.
    I think that sister-punisher is an adequate term, since it describes the action while leaving room for different reasons why they do so, while traitor implies malicious intent in and on itself.

    Yes, I guess we’ll have to disagree. I don’t think traitor implies anything specific about intent, while “sister-punisher” was defined by Melody above as “A woman who turns on other women to gain favor of sexist men” (my bold). But generally I don’t really see any meaningful distinction.

    But I wonder if we should drop it, since GC’s expressed her dislike of such terms in the past and asked people not to use them, which I don’t intend to do in general, as I said, but am happy to do on her blog.

  50. says

    Sergio, I don’t believe that these people are a complete detriment to the movement. They just need some leadership to follow, or someone to show them what is helpful and what is hurtful. Sometimes people just need some extra guidance when trying to do something that they believe strongly in, even if they don’t know the facts associated with it. Instead of simply condemning these people, could you try to steer them in the right direction?

  51. Franklin says

    sabrinawolfgang, you aren’t entirely wrong, but a lot of these people see a loss of a tiny amount of privilege as a second holocaust, and if they can’t check their privilege for even five microseconds, then they are a detriment to the movement.

  52. says

    Then they need to be properly set straight, and shown the less-overblown reality of the issue from someone on their own side of the argument. If we can try to encourage these people to be more rational, we might be able to lower the amount of incidents where these comments are found. And if they are found, hopefully the issue can be clarified with further commenting from other people who are less irrational. This way it will look like more of an individual blowing steam instead of being ‘crazy atheists ideas’ as a whole. As atheists, we should all be striving to get others to be informed and to think critically. I just think it would help if we didn’t just throw them under the bus if they are trying to go about it in the wrong way. Call it, Redirecting.

  53. doubtthat says

    Damn you, you beautiful hideous whore-virgins!!

    You need a good rogering to stop you from being such sluts. You’re just upset that no man wants you because you dummies are too smart. Get back in the kitchen where you aren’t good at cooking!

    I’m running out of steam, but it is kind of a fun game.

  54. says

    Sorry, let me re-phrase that first sentence. That was my mother, the Baptist, speech that slipped out. I meant that if you come across someone like this, try not to be offensive but tell them to stop, and then explain why. I just don’t like how people can be disregarded as ‘detrimental’ because they are too emotionally moved, or not capable of being an academic at something they feel strongly for. Not everyone is able to be a leader, and I personally believe that is why religion has always been such a big part of people’s lives throughout history. People need someone to follow. Am I still being unclear?

  55. Glen Farber says

    The last line was the perfect way to sum up: “the point is that it shouldn’t matter”.

  56. says

    @ Jen #19:

    Thanks, and good job of digging up the evidence! The pitizens can twist and turn, but they forget that what happens on the web… stays on the web. ;-)

    Oh, and if other trolls come up after the banning of John C. Welch and try to pull another fast one by lying about who posted what, here’s something: because research must be replicable, I followed the exact steps Jen described: going to the FtB homepage, typing “gender traitor” (in quotes, to have the exact phrase and not separate words) and clicked on the looking-glass icon.

    Lo and behold, the only three posts listed are: two by Lousy Canuck where he quotes conversations from ERV’s blog, dated Nov 8, 2011 and Feb 28, 2012, plus a recent one by Ophelia which quotes Jen’s comment.

  57. says

    I wonder just how many of those who jump on the “feminists are ugly” bandwagon have any thoughts about their own looks as they say it. Course that shouldn’t matter either in the long run, but for those who clearly maintain it does…

  58. mnb0 says

    @43 Jadehawk: blame it on me being Dutch.

    In addition: I think every sane male hetero should declare himself a gender traitor. I betray male straight supremacy every day. You know, I consider women, like every member of the human species, my equals and try to treat them like that.

  59. evilDoug says

    Stephanie @ 52
    Oops. Eine kleine faux pas. Ah well, at least it injected a little humor, if entirely unintentionally, into a thread with nought to inspire a giggle.

    My father landed in hospital for a few days a while back. While I was visiting, a couple of his friends dropped in. As they were leaving, one asked the other “Who was that kid with …”. I think I was 54 or 55 at the time.

  60. says

    @mnb0: I really wish I had a copy of the Doonesbury strip where Zonker is in the House of Lords and a fellow peer is voting against some horrid Thatcherism – “It’s such fun to be a class traitor!”

  61. Rupert McClanahan says

    “Rupert McClanahan @ #28 and SantasLittleHelper generally: Your comments are in violation of my comment policy. Personal insults towards other commenters are prohibited, as is being unpleasant, nasty, snide, sarcastic. This is your one and only warning. Further violations will result in you being banned from this blog.”

    I think I was just being accurate and descriptive. Apparently when you don’t like the statement, it is insulting, unpleasant, snide, and sarcastic. On the other hand, comment #1 (Melody), right off the bat called people sister-punishers in an off-topic comment! Greta, your post didn’t even mention Abbie Smith and Miranda Celeste Hale to my reading, and yet it is A-OK for this Melody person (still convinced she is a Poe) to start trashing them in post #1, to totally derail the comments and make this all about herself, in addition to Abbie Smith and Miranda Celeste Hale (who, as far as I am able to tell, did not bring a dog to this particular fight).

    Sigh.

  62. ed says

    When people don’t have an argument to make they resort to name calling. Many men can’t deal with a woman who thinks for herself. Then it’s time to take out the thesaurus.

  63. julian says

    in addition to Abbie Smith and Miranda Celeste Hale (who, as far as I am able to tell, did not bring a dog to this particular fight).

    True. The topic is MenCallMeThings. Not misogynistic women who readily and eagerly demean other women as being to ugly to molest. It was very off topic bringing them into it but, then again, it was offered as supplementary material. Like when discussing child rapists within the Catholic Church and linking child rapists among rabbis.

  64. stevescott says

    Reading this article made me kind of reflect on the fact that I tell my two daughters how beautiful they are, while simultaneously telling them that it doesn’t really matter. Though this is not the most frequent compliment I offer, I still feel a little hypocritical

  65. says

    Stevescott, you’re not the only one who struggles with this. When women are told that their main value is in attractiveness, and when that value is being passed on to your daughters from everything and everyone else, it’s very hard not to do that without feeling that you are going to reduce their sense of self-worth. I try to mitigate that damage by making more time for calling my daughter smart and awesome and fierce and brave as well, but I’m not sure what to do about the “beautiful” conundrum.

  66. says

    jen@19

    Gender Traitor is from my blog. I haven’t heard substantial criticism of my post outside of people saying that it is “name calling” (which, in the current context…ha).

    To be fair people do accuse folks like SN of gender traitorism but don’t use that word. All the stuff about how she just wants attention or she just wants dudes to like her. Its exactly what I was talking about, and I used to do that sooo it isn’t as though I am branding anyone who does it as a horrible irredeemable person or anything.

  67. Anri says

    Rupert McClanahan:

    I think I was just being accurate and descriptive. Apparently when you don’t like the statement, it is insulting, unpleasant, snide, and sarcastic.

    Let’s review the comment in question, shall we?

    I am convinced that Melody is a Poe. It would be impossible to create a parody of a knee-jerk, know-nothing, follow-the-crowd, thoughtless psychopath as she is.

    (emphasis added by Cpt. Obvious)

    The bolded statement is:
    a) A valid diagnosis of serious mental issues made by a qualified professional after sufficient review of the case
    – or –
    b) a personally insulting, unpleasant, snide comment that also relies on stigmatizing mental illness.
    Please think carefully before selecting.

    On the other hand, comment #1 (Melody), right off the bat called people sister-punishers in an off-topic comment! Greta, your post didn’t even mention Abbie Smith and Miranda Celeste Hale to my reading, and yet it is A-OK for this Melody person (still convinced she is a Poe) to start trashing them in post #1, to totally derail the comments and make this all about herself, in addition to Abbie Smith and Miranda Celeste Hale (who, as far as I am able to tell, did not bring a dog to this particular fight).

    If this is anything more than “But Billy did it too!”, I’m not seeing it. Please clarify?

  68. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    l the stuff about how she just wants attention or she just wants dudes to like her. Its exactly what I was talking about, and I used to do that sooo it isn’t as though I am branding anyone who does it as a horrible irredeemable person or anything.

    When bigots are the people you’re trying to impress, you’re doing it wrong. Since when is calling a bigot ‘a bigot’ a bad thing?

    If calling out her ridiculously misogynistic behavior and the most likely reason she’s doing it makes one “irredeemable horrible”, so be it.

  69. Melody says

    I mentioned Abbie Smith, because she is the one responsible for saying these things about Jennifer (mentioned in this blog post):

    I just want to point out something Jen McCreight said on Twitter (@jennifurret): “I like how I’ve been attacked for being pretty and for being ugly. You can’t win as a woman, can you?” Women who talk about sexual harassment are either ugly, and resentful of the fact that they’re not getting attention… or they’re pretty, and therefore are bimbos who are asking for it. Or, in some cases, both.

    So, yes, my comment was relevant to this blog.

    I commented on Miranda, because she has teamed up with Abbie and said similarly sexist things in the past. She was also questioning if there really was sexism in the atheist movement in a recent RDF blog post (see comments).

    Yes, the are #menthatcallmethings, but there are #womenthatcallmethings that are equally as sexist and degrading.

  70. Greta Christina says

    Rupert McClanahan has explicitly stated that he will not respect my comment policy. He has therefore been banned.

  71. says

    When bigots are the people you’re trying to impress, you’re doing it wrong. Since when is calling a bigot ‘a bigot’ a bad thing?

    Every woman negotiates with patriarchy, and complies with it to whatever degree she feels is neccessary. I don’t hate women who are caught up in dealing with the crappy set of options handed to them because they decided to do it differently than I did. Women are hurting themselves along with everyone else when they are sexist. A woman cannot speak a gendered insult without accepting some really ugly ideas about themselves (as women). It is a sign that they have bought into their oppressor’s version of the world. What little women have to gain from playing along pales in comparison to what men get out of them, and it is unlikely that this will ultimately end well for the women.

    If you don’t find that at all different from a man using sexism to bolster his own sense of superiority over women then you need to think on it some more. it is different.

    I also said what I did to counter the perceptions expressed by the slime pitizens here (that it was some kind of indelible mark of horribleness to fall under such a label). I wanted to give an impression of what I had said without reposting from my blog. I don’t think that is unreasonable or pandering to bigots.

  72. ER says

    The problem with the internet is that kooks get attention. In real life, they know they’d get punched in the nose for the stuff they say, so they say it online and tart it up to make it even more hyperbolic and goofy.

  73. bubba707 says

    The way I see it is pretty simple. A man doesn’t tell women they’re ugly. A man doesn’t hit on every woman that walks past or they meet at an event. The ones that do aren’t men, they’re insecure children who mostly need a good spanking and a firm reminder to grow up.

  74. julian says

    In real life, they know they’d get punched in the nose for the stuff they say, so they say it online and tart it up to make it even more hyperbolic and goofy.

    Not so. People willing to demean your looks and appearance just to b spiteful are very common. Just yesterday my wife called me about a customer at her job (she works at Starbucks) who’d tried to pick her up, failed, called her fat ugly bitch and then threw his drink her face. And he isn’t alone. Since my wife started working at Starbucks I’ve heard of at least one similar encounter every month.

    Guy gets frisky. She tells him to back off. He resorts to belittling her. Sometimes coffee or mocha or whatever she just handed him gets thrown.

    And then I get online and see atheists doing the same thing and refusing to admit it’s happening and that it’s an issue.

  75. says

    The ones that do aren’t men, they’re insecure children who mostly need a good spanking and a firm reminder to grow up.

    I know you mean well, but you’re letting them off the hook with this.

    Children, by definition, aren’t deemed to be responsible for their own actions, as they don’t know better.

    These people are most definitely adults—they know better but choose to make those actions in spite of this. As such, they may be held fully responsible for their actions.

  76. says

    The ones that do aren’t men, they’re insecure children who mostly need a good spanking and a firm reminder to grow up.

    Could you please:
    Stop to offend children. Really, they’re not that bad.
    Also, they aren’t fully responsible for their actions, unlike adult men.
    Finally, you don’t spank children. It’s teaching them that violence is OK and that might makes right (because obviously they aren’t allowed to hit you if you annoy them).
    Well, that sounds rather like a number of guys….

  77. bubba707 says

    Daz, I understand what you’re saying, but while they may be chronologic adults they still aren’t men. What I learned about being a man came from my Dad and Grandfather. I know I’m just an old country boy and not particularly well fitted to todays culture but I was taught that a man is not only held accountable for his behavior but also accepts that accountability and tries to conduct himself with compassion and honor. What I’m seeing is some that not only try to excuse dishonorable conduct but also try to avoid any accountability. They may make a dubious claim to being adults since they are of legal age for adulthood but they are not men.

  78. bubba707 says

    Giliel,keep in mind that there are still a few of us old farts around that grew up in a culture very different from what is accepted now and we still talk the way we learned growing up. The phrasing has just become more figurative than literal over the years.

  79. says

    Bubba, I get what you mean. I was taught the same concept as ‘gentlemanly behaviour’. Not the just the chauvinistic version that ends up as treating women like prized objects on pedestals, while acting as if they haven’t a brain-cell to call their own, or so-called ‘honour’ that really means hiding dishonour so as to save face with the neighbours. More like a code of doing what one thinks is right and damn the neighbours if they disagree, but also taking responsibility if one’s wrong.

    Some of it was good, some of it was useless nonsense dressed up as tradition, and to be honest, some of it was just plain wrong. And the term ‘gentleman’ has so many negative connotations that the real thing really needs a new name. Non-gendered, for starters—the idea that only men need/could act in such ways, and that women should be the grateful, simpering recipients of men’s protection, was the main thing wrong with it.

    </digression>

    The thing is, these people know that what they do is wrong, yet still do it. That makes them adults who have decided of their own free will to transgress, whatever else we want to call them.

  80. carlie says

    bubba707, part of the drive to eliminate calling guys like this immature or boys is to keep them from then falling back on “But I just don’t understand! Nobody ever taught me! You have to teach me!” That’s a known tactic that is specifically used to wear down the people involved by forcing them to do all of the heavy lifting for the other person to teach them what they’re doing wrong.

    Calling them adults and reminding them that they’re fully responsible for themselves and do, in fact, know better (rather than they “ought” to know better) cuts them off from that avenue of whining. They don’t get to claim ignorance or immaturity then. That’s one benefit of not calling them juvenile.

  81. says

    Me @90

    Come to think of it, we do have a non-gendered term for belief in fair-play, ethical behaviour etc. Humanist.

  82. Philip says

    I would like to agree with Jennifer at #18. I, personally, would like to go further and say I believe that “mentally ill” is as irrelevant an insult as “ugly”: the post ended with “The point isn’t that I’m not ugly. The point is that it shouldn’t matter.” It could have ended with “The point isn’t that I’m not mentally ill. The point is that it shouldn’t matter.”

    Being mentally ill, of course, does not mean I’m “totally out of touch with reality”, though I think Andy did indeed use it that way: even when mental illness includes delusional beliefs and opinions, that doesn’t invalidate other opinions expressed by the mentally ill person, particularly if they have consistently made convincing arguments for them for an extended period.

    I’m trying not to accuse you of stigmatizing mental illness; Andy did. You just remained silent on that question, and I don’t know why you did. Was it simply a matter of priorities and limited time, or of unawareness? Or do you actually think that calling someone mentally ill is a more acceptable argument than calling them ugly?

    I must admit I hope you agree with me, and am scared of simply annoying you. If I am, please accept that that wasn’t my intention.

  83. Not Guilty says

    Those sorts of comments demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding of what rape and sexual harassment are about. Neither are about sex; they are 100% about POWER. Power of men over women, and women over men. Power is used to silence women and drive them back into the home where they can be dominated. The abuse of power is not limited to men over women, but it is what the patriarchy is all about.

  84. bubba707 says

    Heh. The women in my life when I grew up were damned strong and independent women. Any kind of disrespect invited immediate consequences, often somewhat painful. Different era, different customs but I honestly don’t think it did me any harm. I grew up poor but I was rich in close family and support. Unlike , I suspect, most of you all, I never got that much education. I went to work at 16 and never had the chance at more. Times were a bit different and I guess I have a somewhat different perspective on things. My wife of 40 years and I never believed much in gender roles. When a job needed doing whoever wasn’t otherwise busy did it and that included cooking meals, doing laundry and other household chores. Our sons were taught early on to do the same and did their share including cooking and housework. There was never much leasure time so gender roles were just not a workable concept. There are lots of folks out there much like me. We’re free thinkers and have been probably since your parents were kids. We have different frames of reference than you do and different speech habits. We may not have all that much formal education but we aren’t stupid, after all, we’ve survived alot of hard times. I guess I’ve run on and blethered enough. I’d just like to give you all a little insight into a different perspective on things from an old country boy.

  85. says

    Bubba, you’re using terms with meanings that have changed slightly, is all, I think. (Mind you, it’s an ocean away to me, as well, so there’s a time and distance difference.) Certainly I doubt anyone here thinks your perspective is in support of the behaviour described!

    If you took my little piece on ‘gentleman’ above as argument, my apologies; it wasn’t. Twas more that I was thinking aloud about my own upbringing and spewing it onto the net.

  86. bubba707 says

    Daz, I pretty well understood what you were saying and I agree with you. What I was trying to get across mostly is here we have a primarily younger college educated bunch that share many common societal and cultural traits but there are some of us that actually remember the 50s first hand, have limited formal education and entirely different cultural markers. Some tend to treat us as the enemy just because we express ourselves differently or look down on us for not having the advantages they have. Trying to break through that barrier is sometimes like beating my head against a brick wall but I think an effort that needs to be made. We need to not only focus on our similarities but accept our differences and realize alienating allies isn’t a good thing.

  87. Severo says

    These sister-punishers have to be stopped. Not only are they punishing women with their minds… I think it makes them not even proper women. I mean, we have to start listening more to women, especially in the sceptical eviron, but not them, because they’re not worth listening to. Probably, men are behind it somewhere, making them do it. [punish sisters]
    They punish sisters, so we can’t listen to them (even, or maybe especially because men a probably [definately!] making them do it [punish sisters].
    Therefore they’re not real women.

    Let’s get em gang!

  88. says

    bubba707

    Giliel,keep in mind that there are still a few of us old farts around that grew up in a culture very different from what is accepted now and we still talk the way we learned growing up. The phrasing has just become more figurative than literal over the years.

    No, that’s bullshit.
    First, for the reasons carrie mentioned.
    Second because “that’s just the way I learned it as a lad” is the same stupid excuse people here (I’m in Germany, the term is less loaded but still shitty) use for calling black people niggers. You’re smart, you’re intelligent, you can understand why that’s shit to say and you can change.
    I taught a foreign language to people past 80. If they can learn a completely new language, you can manage to use your mother tongue in better ways.

    Severo

    These sister-punishers have to be stopped. Not only are they punishing women with their minds… I think it makes them not even proper women.

    You’re a troll, aren’t you?
    Do you think you can bait us into agreeing with your misogynist and transphobic “not real women” bullshit?

  89. Severo says

    Giliel, Not to be confused with The Bored

    You misunderstand. I’m just confused by the rules now:
    So we want to listen to women right?
    Smith and Hale are women.
    But we mustn’t listen to them.
    Therefore…
    They are gender traitors and now “sister-punishers”.
    Look, don’t have a go at me because you’ve developed a new abusive term to marginalise and silence women that you don’t agree with. Misogynist.

  90. carlie says

    Bubba, you seem like a pretty cool guy. You’re just insulting them by calling them immature, and we’re insulting them by calling them way too grown-up to think they can get away with that kind of stuff.

  91. julian says

    Unlike Severo, I don’t consider the Michelle Bachman and Sarah Palin of atheism to be leggitimate authorities on issues regarding women. Sounds to much like Feminists against Abortion.

  92. Severo says

    Pipe down over there Julian with your mansplaining; we’re busy here… punishing the sister-punishers.

  93. bubba707 says

    carlie, what I’m saying is that type just never matured beyond junior high school. They tend to think too much with the little head and not enough with the big one.

  94. throwaway says

    Severo: Abbie has dug her own ditch and won’t stop. The reason she is a sister-punisher is because what she is doing is encouraging misogynist behavior while taking part (de facto leading the charge) to fight against what was a very reasonable request. She’s doubled, tripled and quintuple-downed at every turn with her behavior. She fucking deserves the title of sister-punisher, your protest is irrelevant.

  95. 'Tis Himself says

    Bubba707,

    I’m around your age (I’m 64) and I was taught about treating people with respect and taking responsibility for your words and deeds. While I am educated (I have a Harvard degree) I also spent six years in the Navy as a Machinist’s Mate fixing valves and pumps.

    The folks throwing crap at women are not children. Sure, some children are nasty, cruel bullies. But we don’t expect children to know any better. That’s why your adult father and grandfather taught you how to treat other people, so you would know better and act like an adult is supposed to act. The crap flingers are adults and are expected to know better. What’s particularly annoying about them is they’re just expected to treat women as human beings. Women shouldn’t be treated better or worse than men, they should be treated the same. And the shit throwers refuse to do this. They refuse to treat women as people.

    So you shouldn’t call the shit throwers “children.” They’re immature but not child-like. Besides, when we were kids if you or I treated women the way some folks do, our parents would not have been gentle with us. Even when we were children we were expected to act better.

  96. says

    No, Bubba707, I think I get it. You used a bad argument, one that’s usually used to excuse bad behaviour by men followed with what you call “metaphor” as if spanking didn’t exist anymore.
    When pointed out to you, you doubled down and used more bad excuses like “that’s just how us old folks grew up”.

  97. Greta Christina says

    Daz, I understand what you’re saying, but while they may be chronologic adults they still aren’t men. What I learned about being a man came from my Dad and Grandfather. I know I’m just an old country boy and not particularly well fitted to todays culture but I was taught that a man is not only held accountable for his behavior but also accepts that accountability and tries to conduct himself with compassion and honor. What I’m seeing is some that not only try to excuse dishonorable conduct but also try to avoid any accountability. They may make a dubious claim to being adults since they are of legal age for adulthood but they are not men.

    bubba707 @ #88 (and elsewhere): I see what you’re trying to get at, and I appreciate that you’re basically on the right side of this issue. The problem is with the old-fashioned use of the word “man,” not just to mean not just an adult of the male gender, but to mean “a good person” — i.e. someone who “accepts that accountability and tries to conduct himself with compassion and honor.” This definition plays into a sexist idea — the idea that to be a man means, by definition, to be something good. If the word man means both “adult of the male gender” and “good and honorable adult of the male gender,” that very sloppiness of definition plays into the idea that being male means being good. That’s exactly one of the ideas that we’re trying to dismantle — the idea that honor, accountability, and other forms of goodness generally should be associated with one gender or another.

    (Oh, and other people in this thread: Please don’t be snarky and hostile to people of good intentions who are basically on the right side. Thanks.)

  98. bubba707 says

    Tis Himself, I’m more likely to refer to the shit throwers as vermin actually. My time in service was spent getting very dirty and getting shot at, the usual deal for a high school drop-out. ;) I simply use the language the way I know how, not trying to score points. Some folks simply don’t understand, or don’t want to. To be honest, my participation on FTB is a rarity. Usually I avoid other people as much as possible. Probably an effect of PSTD or maybe I’m just by nature a misanthrope. For what it’s worth I’ve tossed in my 2 cents worth and I’m done.

  99. Craig McGillivary says

    Part of the point of atheism is that we don’t sit around saying the same tired dogma. We believe in challenging traditions and changing culture. We were all raised in a culture that doesn’t treat women with dignity and respect. That means that we have to challenge ourselves to unlearn all the terrible lessons that it has taught us.

    Calling Greta ugly, because she is challenging your personal dogmas about how women should be treated, is completely stupid. So Greta doesn’t live up to your personal life sapping concept of beauty. How does that take away from her concerns about how women are treated in the atheist community?

    Also, when you have actually listened to Greta, and you’ve decided that women are actually human beings then you still have work to do. Because your concept of beauty should be life affirming. People want to feel beautiful. And since beauty is a cultural thing we can reshape it to be something that anybody can have. If you are calling Greta ugly in order to shut her up, then you are like a young earth creationist of body image issues.

  100. freethinkerdude says

    I’ve seen men slander Annie Laurie Gaylor as “ugly.”

    COME ON! Have you SEEN how attractive she IS?

    Those “men” doing that are mostly Christian men, so we
    can read right through their weak attempts at ad hominem.

  101. says

    …freethinkerdude, much good intent as I am sure you come with, relative attractiveness isn’t relevant to this conversation. It doesn’t matter if the woman in question is a Victoria’s Secret model or a bag lady; what matters is whether her arguments are sound. It’s not just that it might hurt someone’s feelings, or be “objectively” wrong to call someone ugly; it’s that it is simply irrelevant.

  102. says

    Those “men” doing that are mostly Christian men…

    There is no evidence for this.

    If your scare quotes on ‘men’ imply what they seem to, I urge you to read comment #109 and the several preceding it.

  103. Greta Christina says

    I’ve seen men slander Annie Laurie Gaylor as “ugly.”

    COME ON! Have you SEEN how attractive she IS?

    freethinkerdude @ #114: What part of “The point isn’t that I’m not ugly. The point is that it shouldn’t matter.” didn’t you understand?

    Those “men” doing that are mostly Christian men, so we can read right through their weak attempts at ad hominem.

    No. It is not mostly Christians doing this (except in the larger sense that there are more Christians in the world than atheists). There are plenty of atheists who think women’s appearance is a valid topic of discussion to bring up in a public forum. You, unfortunately, seem to be one of them.

  104. Severo says

    @Throwaway said: “The reason she is a sister-punisher is because what she is doing is encouraging misogynist behavior while taking part (de facto leading the charge) to fight against what was a very reasonable request. She’s doubled, tripled and quintuple-downed at every turn with her behavior. She fucking deserves the title of sister-punisher, your protest is irrelevant”

    Why do you think I’m protesting?
    I’m just trying to get straight how it works so I don’t get it wrong and punish any sisters by mistake. I don’t want to tell a woman her opinions are wrong and misogynist and she only has them because she likes being the the fellas and then have you guys come down on me and tell me that’s wrong.
    So, it’s fine for me to do that then? To say, like, “hey, shut up, you’re only saying that stuff because you wanna be in with the guys![men] You’re betraying your gender!” if I don’t like what she says? I can totally discount a woman’s opinion that way and I’m still a feminist? Great!

  105. julian says

    So, it’s fine for me to do that then? To say, like, “hey, shut up, you’re only saying that stuff because you wanna be in with the guys![men] You’re betraying your gender!” if I don’t like what she says? I can totally discount a woman’s opinion that way and I’m still a feminist? Great!

    Would you say that to Michelle Bachman? Why or why not?

  106. Severo says

    I’m not talking to you Julian. You spend much more time than is healthy on these blogs, pouncing and prancing, and never a sensible word at the end of it.

  107. julian says

    Those “men” doing that are mostly Christian men, so we
    can read right through their weak attempts at ad hominem.

    Yes, they are men. We men have a nasty habit of trying to diminish women who upset us by pointing out perceived flaws in their appearance. (Some women do this too.) Imply whatever you like about them being “boys” or whatever but it won’t change the reality of them being full grown adults with maturity and life experience to match any of us.

    And no it isn’t just Christians either. If you followed E-gate you would have seen no small number of atheists describing Rebecca Watson as ugly and insinuating EG must have been sporting beer goggles to consider picking her up.

  108. Greta Christina says

    I’m not talking to you Julian. You spend much more time than is healthy on these blogs, pouncing and prancing, and never a sensible word at the end of it.

    And that’s it. Severo is gone. I’ve put up with his snide, nasty, personally insulting hostility for long enough. He’s been banned from this blog.

  109. says

    @Julian
    “Would you say that to Michelle Bachman? Why or why not?”

    Despite his unwillingness to answer this is actually an interesting question. I personally don’t see why the persons gender has to even be brought up when discussing this. Women and men, Conservatives, and Liberals, they are all capable of saying and doing sexist things.

    It seems as if Severo is suggesting that one is not a real feminist if they ever criticize any thing a woman says, this is absurd.

  110. says

    @Skeptimus Prime: Yeah, the problem of, “but what about those conservative bitches?” has driven me nuts for a long time. If my gender is off the table in criticisms (except as it is germane to the argument, such as in regards to treating other women like crap in order to gain male approval–you know, sister-punishing) then so is theirs. I don’t care if Michele Bachmann is ugly or gorgeous or fat or thin or if she wears dresses or pants; I care if her politics are repulsive, and they are. Of course, I know loads of d00dly libruls who are willing to school me on exactly why I’m cool, but those conservative bitches are just sluts. Drives me off a freaking wall.

  111. says

    @Jennifer

    Yeah I read an article recently where a Democratic senator called some female Republican senators who favored one of the ultrasound bills that were going around “men with breasts” and it just pissed me off.

    I think those bills are repulsive, but statements like that are not only insulting and inaccurate they end of giving conservative groups ammo to use against liberal positions.

  112. says

    Like, I hate it when the brogressives make it so that accusations about liberal hypocrisy in regards to feminism are true. Also, the requests for cookies from dudebros who think that I should be deeply grateful that they are willing to, like, totally let me have abortion rights, get really irritating.

  113. Brandon says

    Hi

    I’m new here but I attended the Reason Rally, have been an atheist for most of my life and have followed the whole “elevatorgate,” thing. Can we just accept that people are idiots and move on? The jagoff who propositioned that girl in the elevator was an idiot and he got what he deserved, a flat rejection. The speaker who complimented atheist women on their looks was pandering and he got what he deserved.

    I am male, weigh 240 and can be fairly intimidating. Yes, I have propositioned women before, never in elevators but in bars, clubs, and classrooms (when I was in college, sheesh!). I have succeeded and failed. I suspect that my size has frightened some women. Women that I had no intention of harming. I try not to be intimidating but I am a big boisterous guy and sometimes it happens.

    To assume that every man who opens a door for you or offers to buy you a drink is going to explode into a frothing rage and tear your clothes off and rape you is sexist. You read that right. .0001% of men are this type of man. Probably less. So please, if a man does something to offend you just do what uninterested people have been doing since the beginning of time. Reject him and call it a day.

    Finally, there is a more nefarious problem that I fear will result from this kind of attitude among the female atheist community. I want to meet the love of my life at an atheist event. I want to date, love and marry another atheist. But if I am petrified of even complimenting a woman, let alone asking her out on a date, how am I going to accomplish this? My fellow atheists with different parts, the man of your dreams might take one look at you and turn tail and run despite his well intentioned desire to treat you with kindness and respect. Do you really want that?

  114. Brandon says

    And as to the topic of the thread anyone who knows anything about flirting knows that.

    a) You never call a woman (another person for that matter) ugly. It’s just rude.

    -and-

    b) You never compliment a woman on her appearance it seems ingenuous and almost NEVER works.

  115. says

    Can we just accept that people are idiots and move on?

    Hey Rosa, can’t you just accept that some people are racists and move on?

    To assume that every man who opens a door for you or offers to buy you a drink is going to explode into a frothing rage and tear your clothes off and rape you is sexist.

    And that was a strawman.

    But if I am petrified of even complimenting a woman, let alone asking her out on a date, how am I going to accomplish this?

    You could try just assuming that showing interest in what a person thinks might be all the compliment they need.

  116. Brandon says

    Daz

    I love how the strawman fallacy gets thrown around so carelessly in this community. I might be simply describing how others behavior seems to me. If she wasn’t afraid of this man doing what I described then what was she afraid of? You will note that in the official story he did, in fact, express interest in what she had to say.

    I’m not condoning his behavior because of the context but I think that the response has been overblown.

    “Hey Rosa, can’t you just accept that some people are racists and move on?”

    and while we have our debating caps on. Non sequitur?

  117. says

    It was a strawman, because the raging feminazi who assumes any man who approaches her is “is going to explode into a frothing rage and tear your clothes off and rape you” doesn’t exist.

    I’m not condoning his behavior because of the context but I think that the response has been overblown.

    You “followed the whole elevatorgate thing” yet you think sexist behaviour is overblown. Uhuh.

    “Hey Rosa, can’t you just accept that some people are racists and move on?”

    and while we have our debating caps on. Non sequitur?

    Since you ask; no, it wasn’t. I hardly think you can have failed to spot the analogy I was making, either.

  118. Brandon says

    @Daz

    “It was a strawman, because the raging feminazi who assumes any man who approaches her is “is going to explode into a frothing rage and tear your clothes off and rape you” doesn’t exist.”

    Well if women aren’t afraid of this wen men approach them in private then what is the problem? As I said before this woman was afraid of this. She wrongly assumed that this man was going to become violent if he did not get what he wanted. If that were not the case then there would be no problem.

    “You “followed the whole elevatorgate thing” yet you think sexist behaviour is overblown. Uhuh.”

    Yeah, I think I have my facts straight. I really don’t see where you are going with this quite frankly.

    “Since you ask; no, it wasn’t. I hardly think you can have failed to spot the analogy I was making, either.”

    Well I think that if you are equating the sexism in this situation to racism then therein lies the flaw in your logic. What he did was sexist, just stupid. If she had said “yes,” then it wouldn’t have been sexist right? It is only sexist because she said “no.” That is not a fair set of rules to play by.

  119. says

    Brandon, I realise I’ve made a mistake. I thought at first you were just talking peripherally about elevatorgate.

    I see I was wrong, and do not intend to take part in your derail.

  120. Brandon says

    You’ll not the timing of the response. I wrote this in a word file confident that you would be oblivious enough to assume that I did not recognize that your remark was sarcastic. Yes, you were being sarcastic. You are also predictable. If you don’t have anything to bring to the discussion then I agree that you should leave this discussion.

  121. Greta Christina says

    To assume that every man who opens a door for you or offers to buy you a drink is going to explode into a frothing rage and tear your clothes off and rape you is sexist.

    Brandon @ #130: I strongly encourage you to read Schroedinger’s Rapist. The tl;dr: Women do not assume that every man who approaches us is a rapist. We just don’t have any way of telling for sure which man is and which man isn’t. So women have to make a risk assessment about which men are and are not a threat. And men who approach us in situations where we are more than usually vulnerable, or who approach us in ways that don’t respect our right to set our own boundaries, are more likely to be treated as a threat.

    If you don’t have anything to bring to the discussion then I agree that you should leave this discussion.

    Brandon @ #142: Do not ever — EVER — presume to moderate my blog for me. This is my blog, and I will decide who should and should not participate in any given discussion.

  122. Brandon says

    Greta, I will look it over, thanks. Before I do though I will say that men feel most safe approaching women when they are alone. This is because a man also takes a risk when he propositions a woman be it for a kiss, a date, a drink, sex or any other romantic transaction. He risks looking like a fool if he is rejected in public. And that is something that people, not just men, fear.

    I did not presume to moderate your blog. The person that comment was directed at was being snarky and evasive. He dropped out of the discussion only to return to continue with his insults. I was merely suggesting that if he had noting meaningful to say TO ME that he say nothing at all. In the future I will make that distinction clearer.

  123. Tyler says

    Brandon- the risk of looking like a fool in public is many orders of magnitude less important than the risk of rape or assault by a stranger approaching a woman in a vulnerable position.

  124. Brandon says

    Tyler. First, thanks for making your point politely. Second, yes, I realize that looking foolish is not in the same ballpark as the threat being raped. Not in the same league, not in the same sport. I don’t, however, see this practice changing anytime soon. I have said before that I think approaching a woman in an elevator or a dark alley is a dumb thing to do but appraoching a woman on a subway, a parking lot or in a bar is just the way things are done.

    It is STUPID to approach a lady in an elevator. Stupid and cowardly, but not SEXIST. Furthermore asking a woman to “come back to your place,” must be done out of earshot at the very least as sex is a private matter that people don’t generally want to share with everyone around them. Hopefully by the time you get around to asking this question, however, you have built enough comfort that she is not threatened by it. That is just common sense.

  125. Hazelwood says

    Brandon – Common sense that someone clearly did not possess as that is exactly what they did. It seems to me that you are agreeing that men should not go about cold propositioning women. Is your only problem that it is being called sexist rather than stupid. Seems a rather pedantic point on which to hold your ground.

  126. Brandon says

    I don’t think it is unfair to insist upon that distinction for two reasons.

    First, people generally accept stupidity more than “ism’s.” Stupidity happens and we have to do out best to deal with it. We don’t organize movements against stupidity. We don’t have special classes at our events on how to deal with stupidity. I wish this situation hadn’t blown up the way it did because now it seems women within this movement have started a crusade against the men in this movement. I do not like the inevitable outcome of this crusade. I don’t attend atheist gatherings specifically to meet women but I do keep my eyes open. That is because, naturally, I am far more likely to meet someone who shares my values at an atheist event.

    Now, at the risk of sounding arrogant I will say that I feel I am more equipped than some men when it comes to relating to women. I have spent a good deal of free time learning how to make women feel comfortable. At the very least I am cognizant of when you do and do not ask a woman for a date, a drink, a kiss, sex, etc. At the Reason Rally I noticed that some of the men there were not as comfortable as I was. It is hard enough to approach a woman and handle rejection but if you add the stigma of being labeled a sexist pig then I’m afraid these men will give up and many healthy and fulfilling relationships will never happen. That would be a tragic.

    Second, I think that the whole situation makes us look like a gaggle of idiots in front of our opponents. We claim that we have a healthier approach to sex. We favor birth control, respect a woman’s right to choose, dispense with traditional gender roles, accept homosexuals, and support comprehensive sex education. When believers come across our websites and see us arguing about this we lose credibility.

  127. says

    Brandon @149:

    You know the simple solution for all those poor, maligned, socially awkward men who somehow manage to overcome their shyness enough to proposition random women?

    They could listen to the women. They could just listen. The fact that they, and you, choose not to, indicate that this is not a problem of women hating men or of men just being clueless, because we’re not selling clues. We’re not even giving them out for free. We’re practically paying you to take the clues, and you’re not taking.

    It’s privilege. You’re not genuinely interested in what women have to say about this because it might harm your image of yourself as the dandiest dudely person ever, and you might have to actually consider what it feels like to be a woman and know that, if you fail to read the cues given to you by the wrong guy, he might rape you and you might get blamed for it. You’re more interested in dudes getting laid than in women not being harassed (when they have overtly said not to do so) or being assaulted.

    Read the link that Greta posted and learn something. Barring that, please at least disabuse yourself of the notion that you care about women, because it is clear that you are not capable of giving two shits about their feelings or welfare.

  128. says

    Your JAQing, about why the hysterical bitches can’t just chill our and let some dude have some game, is precisely why my first response was “cool story, bro.” While I am sure that it is deeply tedious to not nonconsensually rub your junk (literal or metaphorical; take your pick) on someone for long enough to attend a skeptical event, you could probably manage if you thought that women were people. You don’t. So, cool story, bro.

  129. Brandon says

    Take a chill pill. You are putting so many words into my mouth that it hardly makes sense to write any of my own. I have already said a number of times that the behavior that we are all criticizing is stupid. I haven’t called anyone a bitch and I don’t think I have implied it. I am genuinely interested in what women have to say on this issue which is why I read the article that Greta recommended. In fact you will note in my first response that I mention the great deal of care that I take to make sure that I am not making a woman feel uncomfortable when I do approach her and that I feel bad when I do make her feel uncomfortable.

    You can disagree with me if you like but don’t call me names and try to speak for me.

  130. Brandon says

    In response to Greta #144

    I read over the Schroedinger’s Rapist article that you recommended. First I would like to point out that I am wholly unfamiliar with the fear that a woman feels when being approached by a man that she does not know. I cannot think of a parallel to relate it to since I am confident that anyone who would want to rape me would have their work cut out for them. I am big, I am a former active-duty Marine, and quite frankly I am not sure that my appearance alone inspires rampant sexual desire. So, I will have to take it on “faith,” that women feel threatened when strange men approach them.

    The focus of much of the article seems to be on strangers making approaches. I looked up some statistics from the CDC on rape and they confirmed my suspicion that the vast majority of rapes are perpetrated by people that the victim already knows. So the odds that the man who approaches you on the subway who casually mentions that he just finished “Book You are Reading” is not likely to rape you right then and there. But if women do fear this kind of advance then I respect that fear. It was, quite frankly, news to me.

    Furthermore, I generally avoid approaching a woman with the intent of romancing her unless she is in a place where she would expect such an advance like a bar or club. If I do approach a woman outside of these venues it is in the spirit of good conversation. In practice, as the author said, most of the women that I talk to reveal very early on that they are not candidates for romantic affection either verbally (the best way when dealing with men), via body language, or just because they were much less interesting than they seemed before I approached them. Naturally good grooming, posture, and wit helps. I don’t have any tattoos but I know that more than a few women love a man with them and they have become so common that I can hardly see how anyone would associate tattoos with rapists.

    It should be noted that men are notoriously obtuse when it comes to interpreting body language. I have made a career in sales so I am a little better at it than most but it took a lot of practice. I am still nowhere near the level that most women are. I am always amazed by my 14-year-old stepsister. She seems to have a sixth sense about my state of mind. If I feel upset or worried about something she always asks me “what’s wrong.” She is so keen that she doesn’t even ask me “is something bothering you?” She just knows. I am envious of this ability.

    Naturally, atheist conventions are not the right setting for “picking up,” women. However, if I am at a convention and I strike up a conversation with a woman who also likes Steely Dan, Irish cuisine, and cheesy 80s fantasy movies then I will probably ask her for her number and I feel that I am within my rights to ask. I am trying to think of times in my life where I would proposition a woman for sex on the first day that I met her. There have been a few times and the only situation that I have ever done it and would ever do it again is when I am 90%+ sure that she would be receptive to the offer. So, only if she was smiling at me all day, playing with my hair and we had already locked lips. It is exceedingly rare, but it has happened. The possibility of this happening at an atheist gathering is slim to nil. The possibility of this happening at any other type of convention is much higher than you would imagine.

    So, given that men are so capable of being so wrong I hope that you will forgive us our mistakes and have patience with the men who are trying to be respectful. And I hope that you will call our failures what they are. Stupidity. Rampant, oblivious, disgusting stupidity but not sexism.

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